The woman, in her late fifties and clad in a white headscarf and a long blue dress, stood in the middle of Avenue Bourguiba, in the heart of downtown Tunis, and fumbled in her purse. Looking exhausted in the intense July heat, she was standing in a line of people in front of a tent where officials were registering Tunisian citizens for the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for this fall. Because of its strategic location in the center of the Tunisian capital, and perhaps also because of the ample shade provided by the trees lining the street, this particular tent has been recording the highest number of registrations in the city, according the High Independent Authority for Elections (ISIE) employees who work there.
On July 21, Libya's Higher National Elections Commission (HNEC) announced the results of the country's second parliamentary elections since the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime three years ago. It amounts to a devastating defeat for the Islamists. The announcement comes at a critical moment. Rival militias are continuing their fight over control of the international airport in Tripoli, which they have turned into a battleground amid the threat of full-scale civil war. The battle for the airport and the issuing of the election results might seem to have little connection at first glance. In fact, they are intimately linked.
To catch Democracy Lab in real time, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Alexander Motyl examines a terrorist how-to guide compiled by a pro-Russian separatist in Ukraine.
We don't know who the winner is yet, but the presidential election in Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy, is already proving to be the most exciting in recent memory: messy, polarized, and full of drama. Both candidates -- Djoko Widodo (known as Jokowi) and Prabowo Subianto -- are claiming victory, each citing unofficial results produced by several private polling agencies. Indonesia's official news agencies have now withdrawn their initial vote projections in order to calm the waters before the official results are released.
In the last few weeks, significant cracks have emerged in Venezuela's ruling government coalition. The ouster of the late Hugo Chávez's long-serving economic Svengali has prompted high-ranking members of the government's ideological left wing to denounce both soaring corruption and an apparent lack of leadership on the part of President Nicolás Maduro. When one factors in the current painful economic crisis, it is not surprising that the public also perceives the government as weak.